At first Cloud Computing is no longer a hype! We are now in the evaluations and adaptions phase. And because of that the educational work ist still very important to show up the the capabilities of Cloud Computing and to help companies to evaluate the right services during the adoption.
Capabilities for example are cost savings and the change from capex to opex. Better resource allocation, flexibility, agility, location independence. As a result: better recruiting of employees from all over the world, for example: 37Signals.
It’s important that companies realize that Cloud Computing provider do not take care of the whole work in the cloud and that the way into the cloud must be good considered and planned. A company must know and analyze itself and needs to see we are the capabilities of cloud computing for itself. And if you have a well elaborate cloud strategy the way into the cloud is not so rocky as it seems.
The religious war
In principle we have the same situation in the cloud as we have seen in the past. In each area there is a religious war about which technology or which approach is the better one. So we know the war between Microsoft and Linux or current between the iPhone and Android. In the cloud, we have the war of the different deployment models like Private/ Public/ Virtual Private and Hybrid Cloud. But unlike such as the fight between Apple and Android, where the argue is between the cool brand Apple with its closed iOS system and the open approach of Android, in cloud computing the argument is primarily on the topics of data privacy, data security and compliance.
Everything depends on the use case
The fact is, however, that all depends on the current use case. Because there is no good or bad cloud. Let’s have a look on the different cloud deployment approaches:
I am not an opponent of private cloud. I find the adopation of the concepts and methods of cloud computing for its own data center quite interesting. It is thus possible to make the internal IT more flexible and provide the internal customers and projects the resources on demand, whereby the resource allocation improves and billing is accurate as well.
Nevertheless, a company should consider whether it actually makes sense to build up a a private cloud in its own data center. Why? With the private cloud, you have the classic problems of data center operation, plus the complexity of the Private Cloud. Add to this the cost of the hardware / software / licenses and the training of the staff. Cloud computing has the purpose to let you focus on your core competencies. But with a Private Cloud you would not be able to do this.
The Public Cloud helps e.g. Developers with a cool idea to get access to inexpensive resources for their needs. The required infrastructure for the project grows with the requirements of the developers and the actual software. Of course, Web applications are ideally suited. In the past months and years many great new applications and business models have emerged on the basis of Public Clouds. But even graphic designers should consider, whether they prefer to render their videos on an Apple Xserver or better start a performant instance in the cloud. And even for other areas where the privacy has not so much weight (depending on the country where the provider is located) are sufficient potentials.
Virtual Private Cloud
The Virtual Private Cloud combines the best from the worlds of a public and a private cloud. Here I see more productive systems in the future as in the public cloud. It is particularly interesting for companies for which negotiable SLAs and a higher service are more important. The providers of virtual private clouds also offer a better support in the management of the virtual infrastructure, because (among other things) within a public cloud there is a very high degree of standardization. In a Virtual Private Cloud you’ll get, however, the possibility for more customization.
In the midterm the Hybrid Cloud will be the most common cloud deployment model. Companies raise their resources when they need them and release them afterwards. So services (not only IaaS but also SaaS and PaaS) are adopted into the own companies IT. Of course, for the adaptation no own private cloud is required, but a cloud management system which is important for the management and monitoring of the individual services.
The cloud is about self-responsibility
Regardless of which model is used for cloud deployment at the end, the responsibility is an important issue! A user may not give the entire responsibility on the side of the provider. Of course, the provider is responsible for the infrastructure, but the company who wants to use the cloud must do its homework first. As a customer you should work together with the provider and maybe make the first step. If he shows no reaction, he is definitely the wrong provider for you. In the case of the Virtual Private Cloud you as a customer should have influence on the design of your virtual infrastructure and develop a strategy together with the provider.
In addition, every company should have a risk management system, that makes attention to potential hazards. When I worked as a manufacturing company, for example, I have more than just one supplier in the event that my primary supplier fails.
The Cloud Way
There is not exactly a path in the cloud, but there are things you should consider logically.
Have a strategy and think about your governance. One problem with the cloud is that it allures to try out. And suddenly you’re in the cloud and use unintentionally several services that do not fit into the IT strategy. In addition, you should think about what do you want to do with and in the cloud and what do you expected. Next, you need to define your own criteria to identify what you expected from the Cloud Computing provider. Subsequently, the areas in the companie must be identified that can go into the cloud, followed by the search for the services which are useful for the companies needs. This means that the company must be analyzed thoroughly. Furthermore, an open communication to and within the IT department is very important!
Design for Failure!
If you want to use the cloud, you should note one thing: Design for Failure!. The use of IaaS means in the first place, that the provider “only” makes resources available, with which I can build my own virtual, scalable data center. I always notice that this understanding is lacking. With a Virtual Private Cloud it looks a little different, because the service stands in the foreground. Using a Virtual Private Cloud you should therefore develop a design together with the provider. Regardless of Public Cloud or Virtual Private Cloud, however it is important to know the cloud in detail that you use.
Regarding the design for failure you should always be careful not to create a single point of failure. And above all, always think about that something can go wrong at any point. The goal must therefore be that the application works at all times, even if the underlying hardware and infrastructure has a problem.
Multivendor Cloud Strategy
Regarding the design for failure you should also think about a multivendor cloud strategy. Beside IaaS this also applies for SaaS and PaaS. That means, that you not focus on just one provider and distribute your services or instances over several providers. At first you can choose a primary provider and make preparations in parallel at a second one. If the primary provider fails you can automatically switch to the second one. Besides the fact that you increase the reliability you also prevent a vendor lock-in and think about the basic and portable design of the virtual infrastructure.
For each company Cloud Computing has its potentials. Regardless of a private / public / virtual private cloud or hybrid or IaaS, SaaS, PaaS. It is necessary to find the right solutions for the company and to take a closer look where cloud computing can help to raise the own chances. That means to analyze, know and understand the company at first and to define the needs and requirements. Ongoing a cloud strategy must be developed and then the need for acting self-responsible is absolutely indispensable. Because Cloud Computing is not the universal remedy!